By Harbour Heather
Angry about the potential renaming of the Basin Reserve?
Good, that’s the point.
You know what I’m angry about? The fact that when a photo of Tayla Harris playing her sport, normally and naturally, is posted on social media, she is subjected to sexually-charged comments about how flexible she is, about how you can almost see things you shouldn’t be able to see, and what that means about her promiscuity, to the point where the image is taken down. Beauden Barrett is in the media weekly, seen in all types of in-play stances, and we don’t even stop to think about it, let alone all the positions he’d be able to get in to.
I’m angry that Gemma McCaw, as one of the most-capped Black Sticks in history, is hardly ever mentioned without a line about who she is married to (I mean come on, it’s right there in her name, you don’t need to point it out). And I’m angry that it’s never “Richie McCaw, husband to former Black Stick Gemma McCaw”, as if that’s his defining feature, overriding his sporting legacy.
This whole campaign is meant to get your attention.
Let’s be clear. It’s not actually about what the stadium is called at all. It’s all about the discussion it will generate. There are some very telling points in this Newsroom article about how women’s sport is treated in the media, among all the other ludicrous barriers and inequities. If you haven’t read it, read it. Don’t focus on the “we’re renaming the Basin” parts, focus on the real parts. If you don’t know which parts they are, then please find your way back to the Stuff comment section.
Newsroom, and more specifically, Lockeroom – their awesome home of quality result-and-athlete-centric reporting on women’s sport, are the drivers behind this cause. They’ve got great support from across the corporate and sporting spheres, and the launch of the campaign will garner even more. The more people involved, the more voices in support, the better.
For me, a female fan of sports, a women’s sports fan, a washed up former female cricket player, a female who writes about sports, you best believe I’m invested in this issue.
I’m a feminist, but I’m actually a bad feminist. I’m an advocate for equal pay, but I can’t change a tyre. I want women to not be objectified, but I definitely appreciate a good looking male when I see one (all the better when he’s topless, too).
And I want women’s sport to be given the same profile as men’s, but I don’t the Basin Reserve to be renamed. At the intersection of my feelings on women’s sport and my feelings as a cricket fan sits a large, uncomfortable emotion I’m not immediately sure how to navigate. I care deeply about both things, and I think the cricket fan wins out.
Bad feminist, right? But I’m smart enough to know that it’s not what the ground is called that is what matters.
To all who are angry about the idea of the Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve, I encourage your anger. But don’t be mad at the campaign. Be mad at structures which make this campaign essential. Be mad that we even need to have this conversation, to go to these lengths at all.
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